Call for Papers | Performance, Royalty, and the Court, 1500–1800

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on October 2, 2018

Paolo Monaldi, Prince James Receiving his Son Prince Henry in front of the Palazzo del Re, ca. 1747–48, oil on canvas, 196 × 297 cm (National Galleries of Scotland). The Palazzo del Re was home to the exiled Jacobite court in Rome. Owned by the Muti family, it was rented by the Papacy for the Old Pretender, James.

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From the Call for Papers:

Performance, Royalty, and the Court, 1500–1800
Society for Court Studies Conference
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, 11–12 April 2019

Proposals due by 7 December 2018

Next year is the 400th anniversary of the death of Anne of Denmark (1574–1619), a queen consort of the king of Scotland, England, and Ireland, who is well known for her patronage of art, architecture, and court entertainments, in particular masques devised by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. To mark this important anniversary, The Society for Court Studies, with the support of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Birkbeck College School of Arts, is organizing a two-day conference focusing on performance and the courts of the British Isles and continental Europe during the early modern period, with the opportunity to explore the networks and encounters between courts, both within and beyond Europe. The interdisciplinary nature of the topic necessarily embraces cultural, political and economic history, literature, and the visual and performing arts.

Performance was at the heart of the early modern period, with the court itself forming a stage for the construction, communication, and display of power and privilege—a world in which the social relationships that circulated around rulers, their families, and supporters took shape and found expression. Men and women played out a variety of important social, political, military, and governmental roles as well as participating in dramatic events, with court rituals and ceremonies providing occasions for demonstrations of authority, prowess, and magnificence. The architecture and decoration that surrounded the court, whether permanent or temporary, not only provided a physical setting but reinforced objectives and allegiances, as did dress, accoutrements, and entourage. The court also formed a rich source of inspiration for composers, playwrights, and actors—whether representing courts in their dramas, playing before the court, or devising masques and ballets with courtiers as performers. Equally, art and artistic patronage were of central importance, not only through the direct participation of painters, designers and craftsmen in ceremonies, dramas and other occasions, but also through portraiture and other forms of representation. Indeed, a work of art was often perceived and described as a performance.

In all its senses, performance represented opportunities for individuals and groups to find ways of expressing their ideals, their ambitions and aspirations, their frustrations and hostilities. This conference aims to bring this sense of opportunity to the study of the early-modern court, thinking in the broadest possible terms about how we can define our approaches and how, by taking the theme of performance as our guide, we can open up the study of the courtly world and its peoples to new scholarship and new audiences.

Suggested themes include, but are not restricted to:
• Political ritual and gift-giving
• Diplomacy, power play, and hospitality
• Gender and modes of performance
• Loyalties and affiliations
• Control and freedom
• Identity and values
• Court rituals and traditions
• Ceremonies, receptions, progresses and processions
• Reception, audience, and commentary
• Drama, dance, music, and speeches/addresses
• Cultural and social patronage
• Chivalric, sportive and martial performance (tournaments, barriers, manège)
• Trade, commerce, and entrepreneurship
• Visual arts as performance
• Architecture, interiors, settings and locations

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words along with a short biography to courtstudiesconference@gmail.com by Friday, 7 December 2018.

Convenors: Dr Janet Dickinson (Conference Secretary SCS and Oxford University) and Dr Jacqueline Riding (Committee Member SCS and Birkbeck College)

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